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Totally child-led parent's evening at primary school - what do you think?

(61 Posts)
BirdyBedtime Fri 04-Apr-14 13:44:25

So, school got a new head at the start of the academic year and she has changed the format of 2nd parent's evening (first one in October still 'traditional').

It was earlier this week and took the format of the DC's having a little workbook of tasks grouped by curricular areas (literacy, health and wellbeing etc) and going round stations saying things like 'ask me to tell you 3 things about x topic' ' I can tell you about the proporties of these items' and ' I can write a sentence in cursive' - no s**t sherlock, I've seen you write before and I know that you know that a cup holds liquid.

We were explicitely told teacher wouldn't be able to answer child specific questions etc. It was just a glorified open evening.

The outcome was that I learned absolutely nothing about DD's progress, strengths, weaknesses, etc and have requested an appointment with the teacher to discuss this - as have all other parents I've spoken to and many more I expect judging by some of the looks I saw on parent's faces during the event!

The Head has introduced this in her 2 previous schools and seems genuinely shocked that parents at DDs school are not happy with the new format nor with the fact that it was introduced without consultation. Apparently only a handful of parents from those schools ever requested a one-to-one meeting after the child-led one - hmm.

So, what do you think? Are we all being precious expecting to actually have some time to speak to the teacher? Would you be happy if your school introduced something like this?

Let's not even talk about the fact that I also now have serious concerns about the level of what they are learning - that might be another thread!

LittleMissGreen Fri 04-Apr-14 13:51:18

I haven't come across this in 'real life' but actually I think I quite like the concept. If your child had come out with 3 properties of a liquid ,for example, that you didn't know they already knew, would you be feeling happier? I guess the theory goes the teacher can tell you that your child knows A,B and C, but if your child can tell you A, B and C then you know it is actually true.

LittleMissGreen Fri 04-Apr-14 13:51:58

Also, I am assuming that you will get a written report during the summer term too - otherwise I would be a bit more hmm.

wishicouldstopworrying Fri 04-Apr-14 13:59:42

No, I wouldn't be happy with this. As you say, that's an open evening not a parent-teacher evening.

MotleyCroup Fri 04-Apr-14 14:07:38

I wouldn't be happy with this either.

You expect a parent's evening to be just that, for parent's and it's what most of us expect. It's our time to talk to the teacher, and you didn't even get to do that.

kilmuir Fri 04-Apr-14 14:12:11


BirdyBedtime Fri 04-Apr-14 14:12:49

Yes, we'll still get a written report but these in the past have been very generic (we're in Scotland and CfE pushes very much to generic and pretty uninformative stuff from experience). Traditionally there have been 2 parents evenings, with the one in October being retained, but by that time they have only been in the class for 6 weeks and what I want to know is how things have progressed since then. By the end of year report it's a bit late to make impact within this year as it's almost the holidays.

I have to say LMG if DD had told me 3 properties of a liquid I'd have been delighted but what she did was sort a box of objects into those that could hold a liquid and those that can't. She's almost 9 and could have done that in P1 - that's where my issue about the level of learning comes from. She demonstrated nothing that I either didn't know she could do, or was so basic it was concerning or had already talked about when we talk about our days over dinner.

LittleMissGreen Fri 04-Apr-14 14:16:28

grin oops I assumed she was in key stage 1 rather than a junior! I agree with you about the timings a proper parents' evening 6 weeks in and then nothing to an end of term report seem doesn't seem quite right.

MrsBungle Fri 04-Apr-14 14:18:56

Nah, I would t be impressed. I want to be able to talk to the teacher and ask questions.

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 04-Apr-14 14:19:01

I wouldn't be happy about this either.

Parents evenings are often doesn't discussing the school possible undisguised SEN & what strategies we can all use to help. Important stuff that can't always be duscussed in front ofvthe children.

SirChenjin Fri 04-Apr-14 14:23:56

Nope, I wouldn't be happy. I'm well aware of what the DCs know, and when we go to parents night we have access to their work prior to meeting with the teacher and spend 5-10 minutes reading through their work then. The primary school also has a couple of open afternoons throughout the year so I can see what the youngest Chen has been up to.

Parent's night (for me) is an opportunity as a working parent to meet with the teacher and spend 10 minutes talking about my child and their progress in private.

drivenfromdistraction Fri 04-Apr-14 14:26:54

It sounds like a nice open day type of thing and I'd be happy to go to it. But NOT instead of a parents evening where I get to talk to the teacher - that is very important.

SavoyCabbage Fri 04-Apr-14 14:27:32

We had these at our school. We parents calls them the love -fest. They were like a worship session for your child. You couldn't say anything negative or ask any proper questions. Just all marvel at some piece of work dd had chosen.

They have stopped the love-feasts now and returned to normal parents evenings.

columngollum Fri 04-Apr-14 14:33:19

Sounds bloody awful. But, I'm glad that you brought it up. It's nice to know that the weird people in education aren't all sitting on beanbags in Summerhill.

TwoLeftSocks Fri 04-Apr-14 14:34:59

I wouldn't be that keen. Much as I love DS showing me his work and round his classroom, parent's evening for me is an opportuity for an honest chat about how he's doing. And that's even after seeing his teacher everyday. I would think for working parents, that time would be even more valuable.

Mothergothel99 Fri 04-Apr-14 14:35:07

Good lord that just plain stupid!

Ten mins is not enough as it is, I need to grill the teacher not rejoice in my child's work.

tethersend Fri 04-Apr-14 14:39:49

It could be a useful exercise, but it does not serve the same function as a Parents' evening.

How is a parent able to ascertain how much progress their child has made?

AmberTheCat Fri 04-Apr-14 14:45:21

No, not convinced either! I know of one school, though, that does a genuinely child-led parents evening, and it sounds amazing. I think they may only do it like this in Y5 and 6, but basically every child prepares a presentation which showcases some of their work, and talks about what they think are their strengths and weaknesses. Their parents and teacher then discuss this, and add their perspectives.

If your head is keen on a child-led approach, OP, maybe you could suggest something along those lines?

TeacakeEater Fri 04-Apr-14 14:49:26

OP I guessed you'd be in Scotland!

BirdyBedtime Fri 04-Apr-14 15:03:13

Loving the description Savoy - that is very much how I felt - DD was very proud and I'm thinking in my head WTF while saying 'that's great DD'.

Amber that sounds better and for older children - apparently at the head's old school they even do this in P1!

I'd suggested in advance that perhaps a half and half approach would be good - so 10 mins seeing the work and then 10 mins talking to the teacher. We'll see if others suggest that now that they've actually been through it. The hed seems very keen on having children involved (which is bigged up in CfE, but as several posters have said I think what parents need is an opportunity for a frank discussion with the teacher without the child there (while I ask does DD strop and lie at school too)

I've been busy printing off the Es and Os today from the Education Scotland website and even from a quick flick through one or two of them I can see that they have not covered half of what they should by this stage (near end of first) so getting quite concerned.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Fri 04-Apr-14 15:10:20

It sounds like pants. I think it's ludicrous that dcs attend parents' evenings at all, teachers always flam around in their presence and are never honest and parents can't be either.

littleducks Fri 04-Apr-14 15:18:38

We have 'exhibition' events at the end of the school year where you can see your child (and the other classes) work and ask the displays.

It is quite nice but is separate from the autumn and spring parents evening.

RedRoom Fri 04-Apr-14 15:23:18

It sounds like it served no purpose at all. Parents' evenings should be about what parents want.

BirdyBedtime Fri 04-Apr-14 15:28:10

I agree entirely RedRoom but in this case it seems to be that parents evening is what the head thinks the inspectors want based on the waffley niceness that is assessment and evaluation under CfE - can you guess I'm not a fan!!!!

Are you there - I remember when I was little playing in the playground or corridors with my DSis while Dparents talked to teachers. Oh for the days .........

DeWe Fri 04-Apr-14 21:34:44

We have something similar at the end of the summer term(just before reports), called "open afternoon", your dc is also meant to take you to their next class to say hello to the next teacher. It works well like that. Maybe you could suggest that.
We have normal parent's evenings in autumn and spring terms.

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